Thirty years as a religious educator and I had never thought of a water slide in the context of the Water Service until last year. But now I know is the perfect element for celebrating water, celebrating return, and celebrating the generations.
Last year, we rented a water slide with some trepidation. Would it be accepted? Was it too silly? Would the adults try it out? Would folks resent wet children in the pews?
The answers were YES, it was accepted, NO, it wasn't too silly, YES, many adults tried it out, and NOBODY complained about the wet seat marks in the sanctuary.
Our gracious minister, Rev. Lydia Ferrante-Roseberry, grinned and affirmed my tentative suggestion. "Of course!" she said, "I'll go down it, for sure!" She wore her "Standing on the Side of Love" shirt for the ride. Our Music Director, a PhD. in Piano Performance, changed into his gym clothes in the car after the service and careened into the water. The President-Elect wore flippers and a snorkel for the walk across the lawn (I nearly hyperventilated I was laughing so hard!)
The kids played on the slide during the early part of the service, then we joined together in full community for the Sharing of the Waters Ceremony in the Sanctuary. Families, singles, elders, young adults and leaders brought water from meaningful places and poured them, one at a time, into the large bowl. The children in their wet pigtails and dripping towels joined their parents at the microphone. We created the sacred water to be used during the year when the blessing of the community would be invoked. The choir sang "Wade in the Water." The murmur of the fountain said, "This is us, this is our community, this is a sacred time." Our hearts were full, so full, that they would explode unless....
we flowed outside to complete the service with the liturgy of the water slide. We held our noses, slid into the streaming water and splashed into the pool!
We celebrated and played in glorious exuberance, Dads made cannon ball splashes. Moms rolled their eyes and gave it a try in shorts and T-shirts. Matrons pranced, and blue-lipped children shivered in line.
Laughter and whoops on the water slide make the Water Service complete. We are doing it again this year!